The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently cited State's expansive executive powers under Article 162 of the Constitution to hold that it has the discretion to situate community health centres.
Justice M. Ganga Rao thus quashed a writ petition against the government decision of constructing a new Community Health Centre in Z.Ragampeta Village instead of Jaggampeta Village.
The petitioner, ex-sarpanch of Jaggampeta Mandal, argued that there was already a Primary Health Centre in the village since 1986 and whereas Rs.6 crores were sanctioned to upgrade it into a Community Health Centre, the new Government changed the location to Z.Ragampeta village.
It was argued that there were no favourable surveys recommending establishment of the new centre at Z.Ragampeta village, which was situated remotely and would not serve the people of the constituency.
The Executive Engineer of AP Medical Service Infrastructure Development Corporation filed a counter, stating that the Government had selected the land in question after an elaborate survey. The Government issued the order to construct the Community Health Centre beside the National Highway in the larger interest of public, he argued. The old Primary Health Centre was in a dilapidated condition and was located in a remote village, not properly accessible through public transport, especially in the night, the counter added.
The Additional Advocate General contended that it was for the Government to locate the Community Health Centre, taking all the issues into consideration. The executive power is extremely broad and based on diverse considerations, it cannot be challenged under Article 226 of the Constitution.
In support of his contention, he placed reliance on the Supreme Court decision in B.N. Shankarappa Vs. Uthanur Srinivcas and others, regarding selection of Mandal Headquarters, wherein it was held that the ultimate decision as to the location of Mandal Headquarters was with the Government.
He also referred to the case of Sura Chinna Veera Reddy Vs. The Government of Andhra Pradesh, in which it is held that the Government, as the executive authority, has the power to direct shifting of the Primary Health Centre under the provisions of Article 162 of the Constitution.
The Court found that the petitioner had filed the petition seeking a general declaration, instead of challenging the relevant government order. The Court found no legal force in the contention of the petitioner. The Court held that the Government has every discretion to establish the Community Health Centre at a particular place, which cannot be interfered by it.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AP) 106